How Tooth Loss Affects Your Health
The side effects of tooth loss extend well beyond impacting your self-confidence. Missing teeth can trigger chain reactions that increase your risk of TMJ disorder, premature tooth wear, digestive issues, and more.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in Ireland. Other factors like severe tooth decay, dental emergencies, and traumatic injuries can also result in lost teeth.
Fortunately, access to preventative care means more of us are keeping our natural teeth healthier and longer than ever. However, tooth loss can still happen to anyone. Just because a tooth isn’t visible when you smile doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace it at your earliest opportunity. After losing a tooth, many unwanted side effects arise.
Bone resorption after tooth loss
Bone resorption is the first side effect that develops after a tooth is extracted or falls out. Resorption is a natural shrinkage of bone, resulting in loss of bone density and jaw height. Your dentist can typically see the resorption on an X-ray.
Bone resorption poses four common issues:
- Loss of support to your soft tissues results in premature facial aging.
- Reduced bone quality affects treatment options if the patient decides to get a dental implant (reducing their candidacy for implant treatment).
- Weakening bone support around the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
- Loose or uncomfortable fitting dentures because of a narrow bone ridge.
A dentist can place a bone graft to slow or prevent bone resorption. However, the best option is to preserve the tooth or immediately replace it with a dental implant, as implants delay bone loss.
When you remove a book from a shelf, it’s natural to expect the next several books to shift into the open space. Unfortunately, this same scenario often plays out when a tooth is extracted or knocked out. Because teeth support one another, removing a tooth nearly always causes the next one to tilt or lean into the newly created space.
Opposing teeth can also experience “super-eruption,” where a tooth begins drifting out of the socket in an attempt to locate its biting partner. This scenario can cause certain teeth to look taller or longer.
If you have perfectly straight teeth, it’s unlikely that they’ll stay that way after losing a tooth. Movement and shifting can affect an entire row of teeth as they gradually drift from a lack of support. The only way to correct the misalignment is through orthodontic therapy, such as braces or clear aligners.
Abnormal tooth wear
As teeth begin to move and misalign, it also changes the way your upper and lower teeth bite together (occlusion). This situation can lead to exposing certain teeth to heavier biting forces than normal. And although tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies, excessive tooth-on-tooth wear can wear it down at an accelerated rate.
As the months and years go by, accelerated enamel wear can cause issues like flat, sharp, or broken teeth. However, it also places restorations like crowns and fillings at risk of breakage or premature failure.
TMJ disorder, headaches, and neck pain
The result of irregular tooth wear and changes in biting patterns extends beyond your smile. Your TMJ (jaw joint) will also need to change the way it moves each time you eat a meal or snack throughout the day. Atypical joint motions may not be noticeable initially, but they can gradually lead to internal damage to the joint itself.
Even if formal temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder doesn’t develop, jaw pain, popping, and clicking are fairly common. Furthermore, the muscles attached to your jaw can experience tension, fatigue, and chronic pain. These tissues extend throughout your face, neck, shoulders, and even into your upper back. As a result, neck pain or headaches may become more common.
Malabsorption and dietary concerns
The entire digestive process is impacted when your teeth can’t properly break food down before swallowing. As a result, food becomes more difficult to digest in your gastrointestinal tract, leading to dietary deficiencies and other side effects.
Many people inadvertently shift to softer, processed foods after losing multiple teeth. This is especially common in older individuals who wear full dentures or no prosthesis at all. This means they typically aren’t eating meals with fresh produce, which is rich in important vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, because many of these individuals have compromised immune systems, the inability to eat a balanced diet affects everything from their ability to recover from illnesses to daily energy levels.
Dental implants are intended in either the upper and/or the lower jaw to support prosthetic devices, such as artificial teeth. By integrating with the jaw, they enable restorations that range from replacement of one single tooth to an entire arch of bridgework, or as stabilizing elements for over-denture applications.
Most dental implants are manufactured from titanium, which is both biocompatible ( suitable to bond with human tissue) and strong.
What Dental Implants do:
- Ideal replacement for one or more teeth
- Alternative to removable partial dentures
- Stabilise uncomfortable complete dentures
Many people have lost some or all of their teeth over time due to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease or injury. Tooth loss can affect the mouth’s shape and sometimes lead to a change in facial appearance.
If you are currently wearing troublesome dentures or are concerned about losing a tooth or a number of teeth, there are several denture options that are available to deal with these situations. Dentures themselves are customised removable replacements for missing teeth and gum that can restore dental and facial appearance and improve chewing and speech functions affected by missing teeth.
Advanced Dental Healthcare
If you have concerns regarding the comfort or appearance of your teeth, or your gum health or have experienced tooth loss and require secure tooth replacements, The Beacon Dental Clinic can help. At the Beacon Dental Clinic, you will find a comprehensive range of treatments that go beyond normal dental care.
Advanced Dental Healthcare is about providing you with both expert advice and a standard of care that delivers the most appropriate treatments for your long-term dental health and general well-being.
Our services include Tooth Restoration (Bonding) and Prosthodontics (Crowns, Bridges, Veneers), Dental Implants, Denture Treatments, Dental Implants, Gum Disease, and Periodontal Treatments, and Oral Surgery, all provided in one convenient location. In the area of Dental Sleep Medicine / Sleep Apnoea and Snoring treatments, we are a recognised leading center for the provision of these services in Ireland.
Our team of established and experienced clinicians, all of whom are fully trained specialists in their respective fields, are here to listen and address your concerns while working with you to provide a standard of dental healthcare you can trust.
For further information on Dental Treatments, contact us today
Beacon Dental Clinic, Beacon Consultants Clinic, Dublin, D18 E7P4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 213 5644 | Fax: +353 1 213 5645 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org